Does friendship have a half life?

If you think back over the last five, ten even twenty years or more of your life, there are probably people who have fallen by the wayside. Friendships which at one time were so important to you, people you spoke to, laughed with and confided in day after day now feel like a distant memory, and that can be hard to swallow.

As you transition from carefree lady of leisure to being responsible for keeping tiny humans alive (and yourself too for that matter) the sudden change can be a bitter pill to swallow, as it seems so much of your life seems unrecognisable from before. But in reality, friendships fizzling out is probably nothing new, otherwise we’d all still be hob nobbing with little Lucy Smith*, your best friend when you were five years old.

“Half life; the amount of time taken for any specified property to decay to half of it’s original quantity”.

There are so many things which can impact relationships between friends – the big question here, is do they have to?

Circumstance

So much of your social life is heavily bound to your given stage and circumstances. Having worked at the same business for almost fifteen years, I could have listed endless names of those I counted as good friends; people I loved working with and with whom my husband and I shared so many life experiences. Yet, almost three years on, I could actually count on one hand the ones I have kept regularly in contact with.

It goes in all walks of life – Primary school, the 6th form common room, the saturday job girls, the Uni crew, the sports club gang. What happened to those days we were all so tight knit?

The same goes for some of the Mums I met at my daughter’s nursery. We got on really well and I was sure we would meet for that coffee some time. We will, I’m sure. Soon.

And now, the next phase – my kids primary school, sports clubs, toddler groups and nursery. How many of these new faces will become big players in the game of life, and how many will be out at the first hurdle?

As each new chapter unfolds and new friendships blossom, it get’s harder and harder to maintain all these new friendships. Something has to give. With the best intentions in the world, it just can’t always be possible to keep up with everyone you’d like to.

And, as life moves forwards, statistics say a proportion of couples will break down and where does that leave the associated friendships? How do you get around the still meeting up for the occasional hang out, and let’s not even think about when they bring their new partner. #Awkward

And then there’s the biggy. I settled down, you didn’t. I had kids, you didn’t. Do I bore you to tears now? Do you feel I am judging you and your free spirited life? Is there always going to be an awkward void between us? Do you think I’ve replaced you with rent-a-mummy-friend, or can we just carry on as things have always been?

Politics

There will always be strong opinions when it comes to current affairs, and if an innocent discussion ends up a heated debate highlighting polar opposite views, can it damage your friendship? What if you can’t agree to disagree, can your midweek tea and biscuits ever really be the same again?

If one is all ‘remain remain’ and the other was like ‘BREXIT!’ is it time to call #TAXI?

Location

I’ve lived in my home town all my life, but I have had friends move on and relocate. I have bonded with my husband’s friends who live a good hour away, and some of my best friends have moved to the other side of the world. So can a friendship ever really be the same when you can’t just meet up for an impromptu catch up? Even now, with the internet and the ease of video calling, it’s hard being unable to give, or receive a hug when it’s needed.

That said, no matter how far it seems you’ve both drifted, in one reunion it can feel as though you were never apart. You just need that damn reunion to happen.

When kids have differences

If your kids are twelve and ten, and mine are three months and two, does that drive a wedge between us? Are ages and stages really that important when it comes to us? Sure, I can’t do Quasar laser, and you can’t do soft play, but we can still chew the fat over coffee and cake whilst your kids look after mine, can’t we?

It’s a nightmare that my kid bites yours, or yours likes to pull mines hair, but we can see past that can’t we? Laugh about it and watch them fight to the death like the hunger games on a play date. I hope our friendship will always be better than to let that affect us.

If our kids were best pals as tots, and ended up at different schools, will we still invite them to the kids parties when their new pals are all the rage? And if the answer is no, will we ever forgive each other? Will we even give two hoots?

In ten years time, we might squeal and gush over our kids dating. We have joked about the wedding all these years – but if one of them ends up heartbroken, where would that leave us and all the year of happy memories?

Lifestyle

If they’re all over the latest Dubai plans while you’re raving about Diversity at Bognor Butlins, is there a middle ground you can meet and remember the times you used to swap Saturday night outfits? Whether you’re an M&S food hall girl or an Aldi regular, can you really tell the difference where those tea bags came from when you’re sharing them brewed and smiling about the things that unite you?

If one of you has gone teetotal (baby making related or otherwise) and the other still hasn’t learnt when enough is enough, can your friendship see this out-out?

Age

If the Mum you totally clicked with turns out to be the daughter of someone you were at school with (yeah that’s happened), can you really be equals, or will you always be mothering her? And does that even matter?

And if the average age at our new allotment is twice that of ours, can we fit in as one of the gang? Does age even matter at all in friendship once you are over eighteen, you’re both adults, right?

Interests

When it feels like everyone is hanging out at crossfit these days, and that just isn’t your bag, are you just going to be left behind? Do you have to join powerwave to get a wave these days?

Or perhaps you and your bezzo used to follow a band all over the place gigging away your hard earnt cash; a tough lifestyle to keep up when you created your own groupies who like to party ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

 

I know, I know, so many questions so few answers. I don’t have them I’m afraid. What I do know is that every single relationship is as unique as the individuals themselves. There is no right or wrong here, and no two people are wired the same way based on their own life choices, experiences and circumstances.

Life moves forwards, not backwards, and little stays the same for long in this life. Accept that whilst you are busy, so are they and there doesn’t have to be any hard feelings. A really good friend is one you can pick up with where you left, be it 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years ago.

And I, probably like you, am very lucky to have friends who have weathered all of these storms, solid as a rock. Others have had a little more give, and some blew away in the first gentle breeze.

But over the years I have changed. You have changed. Although deep underneath it all we are still the same silly buggers we once were.

And perhaps, if someone has left a hole in your life, tell them; pick up the phone and get them right back where they belong, just once in awhile, for a good old dose of old times sake.

x MMT

This post originally featured on www.meetothermums.com

Share Button
(Visited 74 times, 1 visits today)

18 thoughts on “Does friendship have a half life?

  1. themummybubbleblog Reply

    Love this post. My friendships have changed dramatically since I had kids. It’s been quite a hard one to come to terms with. It can be hard not to take the breakdown of a friendship personally. All of these reasons above ring true. Xx #coolmumclub

  2. itsadrama Reply

    Wow! What a fabulous post. Its one of those that leaves you thinking long and hard. Yes, so true, I’d like to think that as you said it shouldn’t matter but it just does doesn’t it. If my boys 16 and yours is 12… i don’t know. There just isn’t that gel anymore, yet i don’t see why not. Families don’t care do they? you don’t stop talking to your brother because his kids are adults and yours are toddlers… I just loved the post but Im probably rambling on now so Ill shut up!
    #coolmumclub

  3. anywaytostayathome Reply

    Friendships definitely change, you move jobs, house, gain different hobbies etc etc. One thing I’ve found really true was that having kids 100% showed me who my real friends were #coolmumclub

  4. Lisa Reply

    What a brilliant post. This is something I am currently dealing with as I think the shelf life of my current friendships may have come to an end; partly because my kids are so much older than my friends’ and partly because I no longer go to the church they all attend (may also have something to do with my apparent lack of faith too 😉 ). I’ve had a post drafted out and re-written, but haven’t yet had the guts to post it as I don’t want to upset people. I do think that friendships have a season. Some will weather them all, but others will come and go and that’s ok. #coolmumclub xx

  5. Helen Aveyard Reply

    This post is such good timing for me. Since I started blogging I’ve had a few friends from the past get in touch, mainly for my help. I was so surprised but at the same time it’s like we went our separate ways and we’re back at that level playing field again. It’s given me confidence in myself- I tended to think people didn’t like me to be honest. I lcouldn’t agree more when it comes to picking up where you left off. #CoolMumClub

  6. Stefani Reply

    I think every friendship teaches us something either about ourselves or what we are looking for in friendships. Really enjoyed reading this and relating different relationships to each bit x

  7. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I think friendships are a work in progress and sometimes they change for the better and sometimes worse…sometimes all you really need to do is pick up the phone and be honest about it all…#coolmumclub xoxo

  8. ruth cartwright Reply

    What a fab post. #coolmumclub

  9. Lucy grace Reply

    I realised recently that I am a bit of an odd one out because all of my closest friends I have known for 20+yrs and, although I am the only one with children, they have all been fantastic at sticking by my side. They’re the extended family I have chosen really. My best friend of 29yrs has just had her first baby so I must admit, I am looking forward to some real play dates with another little person involved! Great post 🙂 xxx #coolmumclub

  10. talkingmums1 Reply

    So many things factor in friendships don’t they. I have friends who I’ve been friends with for 15 years now and I honestly think they are friends for life. We are all very different and have kids different ages so these are the girls I have me time with! Then I have a bunch of friends with kids the same age but I have noticed since I had my second there is only one who I see regularly x
    #Coolmumclub

  11. Multicultural Motherhood Reply

    Really interesting post. My friendships tend to be with mums of children my own children are friends with. Is this normal? I don’t think I have a good group of friends the and that makes me a bit sad. Hopefully one day! #coolmumclub

  12. Hayley - I am River Reply

    This is a great post and so true. I actually realized who my true friends were after my son was born with Down syndrome. It’s not that it mattered to anyone, just that some people have stuck around and others drifted away. I used to think I had loads of friends but actually I have a handful of great friends now and that’s fine by me. Also, being an expat, I had to get out of the habit of making friends just for the sake of it. There is such a small community here that you kind of latch onto people who you prob wouldn’t spend any time with if you were back home. I’ve changed that and am much happier for it! Very interesting article x x #coolmumclub

  13. rockandrosesmama Reply

    Ive written about this too… I think when big life changes happen friends can drift. I definitely lost a few really close friends after I had my little man but I still do have some going strong from when I was small… some have redeveloped from School and I have made new friends through relationships and being a Mother. I don’t think friendship has a half life… it is just an evolving and constantly shifting entity. #coolmumclub

  14. Tubbs Reply

    Lovely post 🙂 Friendships change and evolve as the people in them do. I know mine have

  15. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh my word I was nodding away as I read this! It can be really tough to admit some of these points that you make though and say oh all my friendships have stayed the same but they haven’t. I remember reading once that it’s ok to have transient friends and I think it really is. Some friends just work for that period of time that you’re in and that’s OK! I am sad about some of the friends that have moved on but I know that my real friends will always be there for me so I’ll give them a call as I’ve finished this comment and let them know what they mean to me because they are the ones I can not do without!! Fab post as always my lovely xx #CoolMumClub

  16. Tooting Mama Reply

    My friendships have come and gone, but that’s life. London is really transient, and we are constantly shedding friends, but I have to make an effort to replenish the pool – get’s harder as I get older! #coolmumclub

  17. So Happy In Town (@SoHappyInTown) Reply

    This is so true on so many levels – friendships which once seemed so tight have fallen by the wayside, and new friends have taken their place, but will they be lasting ones, who knows? But there are my best friends who have been by my side through thick and thin from school and uni and it doesn’t matter how long I haven’t seen them for, we pick up where we left off. #coolmumclub

Leave a Reply